Laing O’Rourke is launching a new equal parenting approach for all employees, regardless of how they become a parent.
From October, all employees - regardless of the individual’s gender or parenthood by birth, surrogacy or adoption - can access at least six months parenthood leave at full pay.
The company is also introducing a phased return to work policy. The policy allows an individual to gradually reconnect with the workplace by working 80% of their hours, but being paid for 100% (the equivalent of working four days a week, but being paid for five days), for a period of 13 weeks.
Effective immediately is a new pregnancy loss policy that provides up to two weeks paid leave for any employee who has suffered, or whose partner or surrogate has suffered a loss of pregnancy.
Introducing the new approach, Rae Avatar Barnett, Laing O’Rourke’s head of the people function in Europe said: “We believe that families, whatever their structure, should be entitled to spend valuable time with a new child.
“And in the case of pregnancy loss; take the time they need away from work.
“This industry-leading approach to equal parenting will allow us to create better gender balance, and shape an organisation that attracts, supports and retains the most talented people.
“Leave to celebrate, adjust and grow the family unit should become as much the norm for partners as it is for the mother giving birth. With no differentiation given to gender or how people become parents, this also provides more support to adoptive parents and our LGBTQ+ community.”
Laing O’Rourke is committed to a 50-50 balance between men and women on its staff by 2033, and says that increasing the firm’s global entitlements in this way will help level the playing field.
CEO Ray O’Rourke said: “When I joined the industry more than 50 years ago, I saw my own role as the traditional family breadwinner.
“The world is now a very different place, and we value modern and diverse family structures and new opportunities that balance careers and childcare.
“I’ve always been an advocate for innovation and modern methods of construction, and those approaches should not just be in the technical ways we work – but in the ways we recruit, deploy, reward, and support our people.
“One thing remains the same as when I became a parent, it’s the most common, most disruptive life event for most of our people – in a good way! So why wouldn’t the business do everything it can to support people fairly during this change.
“No matter who you are or how your family comes about, at Laing O’Rourke we’ll take care of your career while you do what needs to be done at home.”